New member - first post - looking for newbie advice

First time poster here, and am looking for guidance on newbie
questions, etc. I purchased the DOW book, and the premium
membership, have a solid background in hands-on mechanical,
fair welding skills, a decent shop, and lots of grey hair.

I’ve studied the FEMA gasifier, Peterson’s woodgasifiars bible, and
the Drive On Wood book. Have read numerous other publications,
but studied the three mentioned, reading them many times to
glean the finer points.

I have some thoughts on the possible directions I’d like to
head as far as my first build, and would like advice on where
best to post a longer, more detailed background description, and
descriptions of potential projects I’m thinking of.

Given the numerous spots … general discussion, premium,
projects, I figured I post a short note to get advice on
how best to get started here.




Welcome to the forum!

Okay, one big thing about Premium Side is it’s there to protect intellectual property mostly for Wayne Keith and Chris Saenz, but also for guys we like such as Ben Peterson. Rule of thumb, if you had to buy the book odds are it’s a good idea to post it on Premium Side. Any features that others use you can post on the regular side of the forum, like Cooling Rails etc.

I would advise to not waste any time building a FEMA. Studying it is fine but a lot of headaches come with those gasifiers.

I think the BenP and WK have their own respective wheelhouse, while both can do either job of powering a generator or a vehicle. BenP gasifier is definitely geared for stationary use and Wayne built his gasifier for trucks.

So I guess the answer to “which way to go” heavily depends on the intended use. Definitely have an engine in mind, whether Vehiclular or Stationary.



As Cody hinted, with gasification, there is no such thing as one fits all. But in the end, l realy belive first of all, anyone has to evaluate the fuel he has got. You can gasify preety much anything but it makes no sence to make say a chunk gasifier, if you got acces to limitless amounts of free woodchips. Or vice versa. And there is lots of variables. Soft wood, hard wood, moisture…


Welcome Carl. You probably have a fairly solid idea of what you want to build and why. As Kristijan said, your fuel supply definitely helps determine your best design options. Just start a thread and explain what your intentions are. Everyone will be happy to give advise and there are no stupid questions. Because I’m nosy, I like to know where you are located and a little about you. Of course that’s optional but you may well live within a short drive of another member with a working gasifier and seeing what it takes to actually hands on run one is a huge benefit to a new builder.


Welcome, Carl, to the DOW forum. It sounds like you have what it takes to do this, You have come to the right place to get good, sincere advice from people who want to help you succeed.


Thanks for the responses, folks … I’ll put together a detailed
post on my current thoughts on the approach I’m thinking
of following, along with background info as well. I’ll post
it as a new thread with an appropriate subject in the general
forum, unless others have suggestions on a better way to



Whats your objective?
To build a wood gas truck?

Whats your reasoning for trying?
What do you hope to accomplish with what you build?

( information or questions posted in the members only area are only visible to those who are members )


I would just go ahead and post your plans here in this topic you’ve made.


OK … here’s my thinking at this point … and please understand
that I haven’t taken a single step yet towards implementing
anything, but have given my approach careful thought.

I’m interested in converting a gas tractor, with a John Deere
1520 in mind - 3 cylinder 165 cu/in (2.7 liters) gas engine.

My rationale for converting a tractor (opposed to a truck):


  • everything is “right there”, easy access, straightforward rig’n.
  • it will be a project that will be put to work - a working
    tractor, certainly for processing firewood, and maybe for
    mowing (sickle bar).
  • when something goes wrong, it won’t be far from the shop
  • no “on road” issues with the build


  • best I can tell, the only spot for the gasifier is off the front,
    which will really obscure visibility, and extend the length of the
    tractor, and in many ways be a PIA as far as being in the way.
  • probably are other cons, but haven’t yet thought of them.

Some personal background … have worked on equipment most of my life,
not professionally, but from a git R done homestead perspective. Have a
decent garage/shop set up for welding/etc., am a “passable” welder.
Very familiar with wood and its behavior - have heated
with wood-only since the late 70’s, currently
heating two houses - put up my own firewood (12-14 cords a year),
currently using a tractor for woods work, splitting, and moving pallets
of firewood, etc. We’ve got 70 acres along the central/southern
tier of NY, in what used to be dairy farm country, but now is
mostly beef country since no one can afford to keep a dairy herd
at current milk prices.

Spent the majority of my working life as a carpenter, have a small
bandsaw mill and a solar kiln setup - am likely closing in on having
sawed and dried 10K bd/ft of lumber at this point, and have spent
many years coming up to speed on understanding the moisture content
of wood at all stages.

Given the tractor I’ve mentioned, it strikes me that the engine is at
small end (engine displacement) of the WK design, but still in the range
where the WK design could be used. If this isn’t the case, I’d
appreciate hearing from others now - my thinking is that I’ll have a
better chance at success if I follow the tried and proven WK design
rather then tweaking things because engine displacement is too
small for a “by the book” WK design.

I also have this mental picture of the build where I’d start putting
together the reactor, cooling, and filtering in a process where I
could potentially flare and test things before actually tying
to the tractor - part of me even is wondering if there isn’t a
way to set things up so the gasifier fix’ns could be put on and
taken off the tractor with minimal connecters being effected,
making it way easier to work on for needed repairs or tweaks.

Anyway, above is my first shot at trying to get my idea(s)/thinking
across to those who can help tell me what might be good ideas, and
maybe more importantly, what might be bad ideas.

Comments appreciated - from looking around on these forums, there
are some mighty smart people contributing here.



One thing, the WK system is definitely scaleable. You can either make the burn tube shorter, or more narrow. If you have a bunch of 30 and 20 gallon drums of the same diameter you could even make the whole assembly more narrow if you reduced burn tube diameter.

What’s more important in the WK is it’s method of operation.

What’s the engine size of the tractor?

One thing to keep in mind you’ll probably be leaving the tractor at wide open throttle most of the time right? So figure in that CFM at the RPM it’ll be staying at the longest.

Most guys have been mounting their gasifiers sidesaddle on their tractors. Saves nose length. Put the gas cooler in front of the radiator of the engine so the draft of the cooling fan can keep a breeze on the gas cooler.

There’s a member of the forum who has sadly passed away recently, @tritowns Arvid Olson, who put a lot of gasifiers on a lot of tractors. Some of his stuff was trade secret but a lot can be gleamed from his posts, check out his profile and posts.

Edit: He used the Northern Self Reliance style gasifier on his units. I want to say he could run on classified wood chips just like a NSR gasifier. Here’s Stephen’s guide on his design.


Sound like excellent experiences and qualifications, Hag.

And very been done now tractor conversion goals.
For a Wayne Keith downsized system personal tractor conversion step by step, here:
And this Premium side group category is where you would want to post up if you do build W.K. system style.
For other woodgas tractor conversion fellows have done using different woodgas systems you will find most (but not all of them) in the Woodgas Farming category group.
First click open the stacked papers tool icon above in the blue.
Then in the window brought up click open “Categories (16 more)”
the Woodgas Farming will show there. Open it up to projects topics.

Hey! Welcome to the DOW, man. We need all of the woodchucks we can get.
Steve Unruh


My oh my … WK’s international conversion looks to be
right up my wheelhouse … many thanks for the reference,
Steve. I will study that thread thoroughly, and then start
a post/thread at the premium forum to start discussing
aspects specific to my tractor.

Two questions … the initial post at the link you listed mentions:

Main thread is here:

(I left out the beginning of the link to short circuit the link conversion)

That link appears to be a dead end … is there more about the
build somewhere that the link is supposed to point to?

Also, I haven’t dug into the thread in detail yet, but when scanning
it, didn’t see a reference to the model of tractor Wayne converted.
Any chance someone knows the model off hand? Engine size
would be great too … to give some reference as to the engine
I’m considering.

thanks again for the reference - I have little doubt that this site
is gonna be a savior as the actual build starts.


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I thinks its a 444 and came with a 154 cubic inch gas engine

As for the links with short circuits so they don’t work?
I don’t really know whats so important it requires so much cloak an dagger

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Thanks, Wallace - the 444 has an almost identical
engine size/displacement as the JD 1520 I’m looking
at - both tractors are the same vintage. Makes me think I could follow his reactor build process and specs without any changes.

As for the link, when I copied it and pasted it into my
post, the actual URL was converted to:

Which takes me to the “front” page of the generic forum page,
not to a dedicated thread on Wayne’s international build, which
the description preceding the link claims it should.

I’m brand new to this forum format, so apologies for any
rookie mistakes I may be making while get’n up to speed.


I don’t know what that other link was supposed to lead to. Was there a forum post with the link describing what it’s meant to go to?


The first paragraph in the thread titled:

Wayne’s International - gasifier build thread


“This is where the nitty gritty will go as I build a 10” gasifier to fit the International tractor. Main thread is here:"

and the link that follows the above takes you to the generic forum
page - not a “main thread”


I think it was relocated to the one SteveU linked:

OK - looks like a redundant link then …

again, I’m a newbie, and just trying to get a handle
on things here.

The WK tractor thread … kinda scary how close that
build is to what I’ve been considering. I’ll take all
the help I can get :wink:


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There’s really only a few ways to mount a gasifier on a tractor. Behind, Sidesaddle, or in Front.

This is one of Arvid’s builds.

Here’s Ron Lemler’s tractor


And Tone’s diesel tractor


Well thanks, there, Cody - more eye candy …

Can only say I’m impressed with the responses to my initial foray at
the Drive On Wood site,

At this point, I’m pretty certain I’ll follow WK’s lead, since there’s so
much documentation. My plan is to study the thread carefully,
and start scrounging some of the material I’ll need. Doubt I’ll be
pull’n any tools out until the weather turns to real winter - way
too much to do outside in the next couple months, and am saving
the tool work for late fall/winter …